WATCH ABOVE: Discrimination and a “clique-y” corporate culture at play according to researchers and LGBT advocates. Peter Kim reports.
Gay men in relationships make five per cent less than heterosexual men; lesbians in relationships, nine per cent less. The findings come from a first-of-kind study out of McGill University looking at “wage penalties” based on sexual orientation.
“It’s important to understand that we do have qualitative evidence that would suggest there is discrimination and a preference or bias for working with heterosexuals,” said study author Sean Waite. “For example we see case studies, court cases, and attitudinal research that show that there is a preference.”
A “clique-y” corporate culture could also underpin some of the findings according to Douglas Judson, director at Out on Bay Street.
“To a certain extent there continues to be networks in force in different industries and sectors and organizations that can lead to alienation for certain groups in society,” said Judson.
The wage disparity for sexual minorities appeared to be reduced or eliminated in the public sector, which is limited by a more rigid pay scale due to unionization.
The largest wage gaps were found in the highest paid occupations, such as management and business. Researchers looked through Stats Canada census data from 2006 that examined a broad range of occupations from retail to construction.
“There’s a lot about this survey that’s very narrow. It only looks at non-visible minorities, you don’t see anyone who’s racialized for instance,” said Matthew Cutler, director of Strategic Partnership Initiatives at 519 Church Street Community Centre. “We understand that inter-sectional identities make a difference so if you’re a person of color you’re going to have even more challenges in addition to being gay or lesbian.”
There are other reasons possibly fueling the wage gap according to researchers: four per cent more gay men worked part time, less than 35 hours per week, relative to their heterosexual counterparts.